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CBS, COMMENTATORS AND COMMENTARY, MAJOR FAIL: Serena Williams Deserves Equal Treatment, Not Small Mindedness

Sunday, September 9, 2012

I should be enjoying this momentous occasion of  the 2012 US Open Women's Final between American Serena Williams and Victoria Azarenka of Belarus. Instead, during the first set at 4-2 Serena, I am furious at the fact that that CBS, Mary Carillo and John McEnroe found it necessary to open the match with negative video from Serena's career.

It was by far the worst manner in which I have ever personally witnessed a final, or any other match, begin. We who watch and love the sport of tennis are well aware of the positive and negative moments of many of the players careers. But NEVER has a player been beaten over the head so repeatedly with these moments than Serena Williams.

If that was the mode of the day, show negative moments from Azarenka's career, I've witnessed those too. Were they not as salacious, did you dislike her less in her moments than you disliked Serena in hers? Whatever the reason for that one-sided slap in the face that you gave Serena, it should not have occurred.

You absolutely ruined the beginning of this final for a lot of people that sat down to watch two professional women compete for the 2012 US Open title. How incredibly small of you.


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Posted by Shelia
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(PHOTOS) DirecTV ESPN U.S. Open Experience: The Williams Sisters Joined Other Tennis Notables

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Black Tennis Pro's Venus and Serena Williams and Luke and Murphy Jensen DirecTV ESPN U.S. Open ExperienceNEW YORK - AUGUST 26: Tennis players Luke Jensen, Murphy Jensen, Venus Williams and Serena Williams play tennis at the DIRECTV ESPN US Open Experience promoting DIRECTV’s mosaic coverage of the US Open at Bryant Park on August 26, 2009 in New York, New York.
(Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images for DirecTV)

Black Tennis Pro's Venus and Serena Williams and Luke and Murphy Jensen DirecTV ESPN U.S. Open Experience
Black Tennis Pro's Victoria Azarenka DirecTV ESPN U.S. Open ExperienceVictoria Azarenka, Belarus

Black Tennis Pro's Venus Williams DirecTV ESPN U.S. Open ExperienceVenus Williams, USA

Black Tennis Pro's Venus and Serena Williams DirecTV ESPN U.S. Open ExperienceVenus and Serena Williams, USA

Black Tennis Pro's Venus and Serena Williams and Bud Collins DirecTV ESPN U.S. Open ExperienceVenus Williams, Bud Collins, Serena Williams

Black Tennis Pro's James Blake DirecTV ESPN U.S. Open ExperienceJames Blake, USA

Black Tennis Pro's Brad Gilbert DirecTV ESPN U.S. Open ExperienceBrad Gilbert, USA

Black Tennis Pro's Murphy Jensen DirecTV ESPN U.S. Open ExperienceMurphy Jensen, USA

Black Tennis Pro's Serena Williams DirecTV ESPN U.S. Open ExperienceSerena Williams, USA rockin' one of her Signature bags

Black Tennis Pro's Serena Williams and Luke and Murphy Jensen DirecTV ESPN U.S. Open Experience(l-r) Luke Jensen, Serena Williams and Murphy Jensen

Black Tennis Pro's Serena Williams and John McEnroe DirecTV ESPN U.S. Open ExperienceSerena Williams and John McEnroe

Black Tennis Pro's Mary Joe Fernandez DirecTV ESPN U.S. Open ExperienceMary Joe Fernandez, USA

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Posted by Shelia
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The Washington Post: World Team Tennis Finals To Be Held In Washington

Thursday, May 7, 2009

In just its second season fielding a World TeamTennis franchise, Washington will host the professional tennis league's championship finals this summer.

The Washington Kastles once again will play their seven home matches on the site of the city's former convention center, 11th and H streets NW, at a 3,000-seat stadium that's roughly 30 percent bigger than the one constructed for the team's inaugural season.

In addition, Washington will host the 2009 Advanta WTT Championships finals on July 26.

The Kastles' seven-game home stand opens July 7 with a visit from former world No. 1 Venus Williams, who competes for the Philadelphia Freedom. That's just three days after Wimbledon women's final is schedule to be played. Venus is a five-time and defending champion of the grass-court classic.

For a second consecutive year, Serena Williams headlines the Kastles' roster, but she won't be in the lineup for a head-to-head meeting with her elder sister. Serena's lone home match for the Kastles will be July 14.

Other top names visiting Washington to take on this Kastles this summer include John McEnroe and Anna Kournikova.

Tickets go on sale Monday at 10 a.m., available through the team's Web site, www.washingtonkastles.com and Ticketmaster. Group and box seats can be bought by phone, 202-483-6647.

The Kastles home schedule is below:

July 7 -- Philadelphia Freedom (Venus Williams)

July 8 -- St. Louis Aces (Anna Kournikova)

July 12 -- N.Y. Buzz

July 14 -- Newport Beach Breakers (Serena Williams' only home match)

July 16 -- N.Y. Sportimes (John McEnroe)

July 21 -- N.Y. Buzz

July 22 -- Springfield Lasers

July 26 -- Advanta WTT Championship Finals

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Posted by Shelia
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Serena Williams Becomes First Woman On EA Sports Cover

Thursday, April 9, 2009

EA Sports News Alert


John McEnroe, Roger Federer and Serena Williams Featured on North American Packaging

REDWOOD CITY, Calif. - April 9, 2009 - Electronic Arts Inc. (NASDAQ:ERTS) announced today that tennis stars John McEnroe, Roger Federer and Serena Williams will be the North American* cover athletes for its new tennis franchise, EA SPORTS Grand Slam® Tennis. Eight different regional player partnerships will be announced soon. McEnroe, one of the sport's most recognizable figures, was recently confirmed as exclusive to the game. Federer and Williams are among the biggest names in tennis and the most accomplished; having won 23 Grand Slam singles titles between them. Williams becomes the first woman to grace the cover of an EA SPORTS simulation product.

"It's very exciting to be on the cover of EA SPORTS Grand Slam Tennis. This game not only shows EA's enthusiasm for tennis but for also women's tennis, said Williams. "I know from experience how tough and gratifying it is to win all four Grand Slams so I hope people will enjoy the Grand Slam experience that is offered in this game."

EA SPORTS Grand Slam Tennis is being developed under the EA SPORTS brand by EA Canada in Vancouver, B.C. Designed first for the Wii™, it ships to North American retailers on June 15th, one day earlier than the previously announced ship date. Worldwide it ships on June 26th with the exception of the United Kingdom, Sweden, Finland, Norway, Denmark, Spain and Australia, where it ships on June 12th.

This fall EA SPORTS Grand Slam Tennis will also be served up for the PLAYSTATION®3 computer entertainment system and Xbox 360® video game and entertainment system from Microsoft. With stunning realism, it will feature innovative control systems and robust online** capability. Classic matches from the past will be recreated, along with simulated dream match-ups that weren't possible before.

EA SPORTS Grand Slam Tennis for the Wii has been rated "E" by the ESWRB and "3+" by PEGI and has an MSRP of $49.95 USD in North America. For more information log onto www.easports.com/tennis. Media can find screenshots and video of the game at http://info.ea.com.

*In addition to select other global territories
** INTERNET CONNECTION required for online features. See product pack for details.


Paula Kim
Senior Publicist

Jen Riley
Manager, Public Relations

David Tinson
Sr. Director, Public Relations

Game Screenshots:

Black Tennis Pro's Serena Williams EA SPORTS Grand Slam TennisBlack Tennis Pro's Roger Federer EA SPORTS Grand Slam TennisBlack Tennis Pro's Roger Federer EA SPORTS Grand Slam TennisBlack Tennis Pro's John McEnroe EA SPORTS Grand Slam TennisBlack Tennis Pro's John McEnroe EA SPORTS Grand Slam Tennis

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Posted by Shelia
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Johnson To Johnson, Claudia You Read My Mind: A Commentary on Commentators

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

I absolutely love this article by Claudia Johnson that appears on SI.com. It captures my total disdain for inept commentators and why the mute button on my remote is practically worn out.

Color me cranky, but tennis commentators who talk during points chap my ass (as we used to say where I grew up in Texas). It's like trying to watch your favorite film with the director's commentary running -- and you can't turn it off. Or sinking into a soothing massage and your masseuse won't shut up.

Mind you, I think tennis commentators are the best in the biz -- smart, funny, insightful. I agree with SI.com's Jon Wertheim that they're "a competent bunch with a nice mix of styles" and that "critiques about the commentators are fairly muted," but I have to second Tennis Magazine Editor-in-Chief James Martin's suggestion:

"Television needs to come up with a new mute button. Not one that blocks out the sounds of the game. Listening to the ball come off the strings, the sliding (or squeaking, depending on surface) of the shoes, the grunts of the players, and the 'shhhs' of a crowd before a big point -- this is the soundtrack to my life, my passion. No, this new mute button will keep all of those sounds but simply, mercifully, block out the commentators' blather."

Get out of my head.

Before I read this last night, I planned to propose a small onscreen button --COMMENTARY OFF -- that viewers could click when commentators are driving them crazy. Yes, ESPN2's screen is getting so crowded it reminds me of the stateroom scene in A Night At The Opera, but viewers need some escape, some way to watch tennis with the sound of ball smacking, the calls, and the crowd, but without commentators who careen off into irrelevant land and schmooze celebs -- onscreen during games! -- like John McEnroe at last year's U.S. Open or otherwise blab during points like Brad Gilbert at this year's Australian Open.

Don't get me wrong. I like these guys. They're both rascals -- Johnny Mac, the legendary bad boy of tennis, and Gilbert, the loveable bonehead from Planet Goofy whose colorful lingo and self-slamming humor ("The older I get, the better I used to be") make him the whipping boy in the booth, like Karl in a Ricky Gervais Podcast. I'd love to hang out with them both and talk tennis -- just not when a match is in progress.

Still, you gotta hand it to Gilbert. He took talking off point during points to new heights in the Round of 16 match between James Blake and Igor Andreev. Sixth game, third set. ESPN2 cut away from the ongoing game (don't get me started) to show us a tease for that night's match between Murray and Meltzer, over which Gilbert said, "Both of them come in without losing a match this year."

Chris Fowler countered, "Melzer, though, gave him a five-set test at the U.S. Open, and Murray was able to dig out of a two-set hole and out of the final, of course."

We cut back to Blake hitting a killer forehand followed by a winning backhand volley. Great tennis! But Gilbert's still carrying on about Murray. "Not only was he down two sets but there was a third-set tie-break --"

ESPN2 replays Blake's brilliant performance, but Gilbert blabs on, "-- and Murray was two points from losing the match, and at 5-4 in the tie-breaker, Meltzer missed . . ."

The replay ended.

Alas, not Gilbert. ". . . and all of a sudden his game went back to Austria and he went home meekly after that."


We viewers were trying to watch an incredible point between Blake and Andreev onscreen, and Gilbert was giving us a blow-by-blow commentary of a different point between two different players in a different tournament in a different year.

But at least the subject was tennis. Earlier in the same match Fowler, distracted by a shot of Melbourne's harbor, asked Brad Gilbert if he could name the rivers that ran through the four Grand Slam cities. It took Gilbert a couple of games to figure it out.

"Hey," he said, clearly exasperated by Fowler's question, "I'm focused on tennis."

Fowler laughed. "For the first time."

So if Fowler knew that, why did he ask about rivers?

Maybe ESPN2's producers want the verbal equivalent of the visual cram they provide on their screen. Or maybe their commentators get paid by the word, like Charles Dickens. I just wish they'd all take to heart what James Martin said:

"Tennis is a beautiful sport. Watching a point play out with only the sounds of the players, ball, and crowd is enough. Really."

Then maybe they'll stop breaching tennis's own etiquette and shut their bazoo during play. Show more respect for the viewer.

And this beautiful sport.

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Posted by Shelia
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